Study Claims Motion Blur Is a Non-Issue In Most Mid-To-High-End LCDsS

A study conducted by DisplayMate Technologies claims that the issue of "motion blur" so long associated with LCDs is no longer an issue in mid-to-high-end LCDs. However, manufacturers have no problem selling you gimmicks that supposedly fix the problem.

The HDTVs included models from the top-tier brands of (alphabetically) LG, Samsung, Sharp and Sony - from the mid-line to top-of-the-line models. All of the units were from the 2008 model year. Differences between the 2008 and 2009 models are primarily in their marketing hype. For this article we had three flagship top-of-the line LCD models from Samsung (LN-T5281F), Sharp (LC-52D92U) and Sony (KDL-52XBR4). By studying the top-of-the-line models from the market leaders we were assured of examining the state-of-the-art for each display technology and each manufacturer. The consumer mid-line models included LG (42LG50), Samsung (LN40A550P3F), and Sony (KDL-40V3000). The remaining two LCD units were consumer HDTVs but not commercially available models.

The top-of-the-line Sony XBR and Sharp units had 120 Hz screen refresh, the top-of-the-line Samsung had strobed LED backlighting, and all of the other units had standard 60 Hz screen refresh. The goal was to determine the degree to which this varied advanced technology affected visible motion blur.

DisplayMate analyzed the blur using moving test patterns, moving photographs and live video (a Nikon D90 DSLR with a shutter speed of 1/160th a second was used for the photography) and found that no actual motion blur detectable in any of the live video content—although there were incidents that were passed off as defects in the source video or temporary optical illusions.

After extensive side-by-side objective testing with moving test patterns, moving photographs and live video we found that there was no visually detectable difference in motion blur performance for current mid to top-of-the-line LCD HDTVs, regardless of their Response Time, 60 or 120 Hz refresh rates, strobed LED backlighting, or motion enhancement processing. While there was considerable motion blur in the moving test patterns, motion blur was simply not visually detectable in real live video content during our extensive side-by-side testing. With only a handful of minor exceptions, whenever blur was seen in live video we always found it to be in the source content or a temporary visual illusion that disappeared when the segments in question were reviewed. This is undoubtedly due to the way the brain processes and extracts essential information from dynamic and complex moving images.

In other words, DisplayMate thinks you are probably seeing things. Don't be fooled by manufacturers charging extra for fancy motion blur technologies or claims of exceptional response times. If you purchased a mid to top tier model you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Of course, this test doesn't remotely cover all of the LCD brands out there, so I have to ask—based on your experience, do you believe that LCD makers have finally tamed the motion blur beast? [DisplayMate]